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What are Lumen?

Within the world of lighting, lumen (lm) is a valuable measure of the visible light emitted by a light source in all directions. This unit, often confused with wattage, is actually the key to understanding and designing beautiful lighting projects. In this article, we dive deeper into the world of lumen.

From watts to lumens

Previously, when traditional incandescent lamps were the norm, wattage served as a rough indicator of a lamp’s light output. It was an easy way to determine how bright a lamp would be. But with the advancement to LED lighting, this approach is obsolete. Today, we can no longer simply use wattage to “predict” the brightness of a lamp.

This is where lumen comes in. Lumen has become a more accurate and meaningful metric because it specifically measures the amount of visible light emitted by a light source. In other words, lumens tell us how brightly a lamp will actually shine, regardless of the type of lamp or technology.

Lumen in a lighting plan

There are several factors to consider when determining the lumen values needed to illuminate a room. It is not a matter of randomly picking a number. It requires a deep understanding of the space, its function and its intended atmosphere. Some important considerations include room size, layout and geometry, ceiling height and wall and furniture colors.

A lighting plan includes calculations of lumen values to ensure optimal lighting. This includes determining the required light output for different areas within a room, selecting appropriate fixtures and light sources, and ensuring balanced lighting distribution.

Arkoslight shot light Lixero

In practice

Let’s look at a practical example. Imagine you want to light an office space with bright but glare-free lighting. The room is 4 meters wide, 6 meters long and has a standard ceiling height of 2.5 meters. According to office lighting standards, 500 lux is recommended for desks.

To illuminate this room with a uniform illumination of 500 lux, we need to calculate the total light output required. Using lumen as our guide, we can determine this exactly. Suppose we use a fixture that produces 100 lumens per watt. Then for this room we need 500 lux x (4 m x 6 m) = 12,000 lumens. This would mean that we would need a 120-watt fixture to achieve the desired illuminance.

lux lumen candela

Atmospheric lighting

Although lumen is a measurable unit, it is not just about technical precision. It plays a major role in creating the desired atmosphere and ambiance in a room. It can help highlight (architectural) features, insert accents and promote a comfortable visual experience.

At Lixero, we understand the profound impact of lumens on lighting design. Our expertise allows us to create the perfect balance between light output, aesthetics and functionality. With lumen as our guide, we design lighting plans that evoke emotions and bring spaces to life. Wondering what we can do for you? Request a customized lighting plan with no obligation.

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Maurice Arons